The effect of strains on fertility, hatchability, and embryo mortality of indigenous chicken reared in the high rain forest zone of Nigeria was investigated. In this investigation, indigenous chicken with normal feathered phenotype, naked neck, and frizzle feathered phenotype which consisted of 10 cocks and 35 hens as the parents were used. They were put in 7 breeding groups: (1) Normal feathered cock with normal feathered hen (na × na ); (2) Naked neck cock with naked neck hens (Na × Na); (3) Frizzle feathered cock with frizzle feathered hens (Ff × Ff); (4) Frizzle feathered cocks with normal feathered hens (Ff × na); (5) Naked neck cock with normal feathered hens (Na × na); (6) Normal feathered cock with naked neck hens (na × Na), and (7) Normal feathered cock with frizzle feathered hens (na × Ff). The hens were five in each group and artificial insemination of the desired cock for each group was carried out twice a week before eggs were collected for incubation. Results from data analysis showed no significant difference (P>0.05) in fertility and embryo mortality within breeding groups. Egg fertility ranged from 58.82% for Na × na to 91.38% for Ff × na strain. Significant strain effect (P<0.05) was recorded for hatchability with highest value of 86.36% for na × na and the least value of 55.56% for Na × Ff strain. The Ff × Ff also had the highest embryo mortality of 34.36%. It was concluded that continuous reduction in the population of indigenous chicken with major gene of frizzling and naked neck may be attributed to greater loss of the chicks before hatching. There is need for adequate conservation of these rare genes in order to prevent them from going to extinction.
Key words: Hatchability, pure, crossbred chicken, normal feather, frizzle feather, naked neck, embryo mortality.
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